Dubai Princess Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum II is reported to be “missing” after she attempted to flee the UAE (United Arab Emirates) two months ago on a luxury yacht. Sheikha Latifa was allegedly kidnapped by armed men after running to the United States to seek political asylum. Now, human rights groups are seeking answers to the questions surrounding the missing princess.
Princess Sheikha Latifa is one of the daughters of UAE Prime Minister and Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In the past, the 32-year-old woman has been described as the “daredevil royal” because she is known for hobbies like skydiving.
On March 11, 2018, a YouTube video was released by British organization Detained in Dubai where a woman claimed to be Sheikha Latifa. The woman described her life in the UAE as being “very restricted” and she was not allowed to travel or drive. The woman said that she first tried to escape Dubai in 2002 when she was 16-years-old, but when the runaway attempt was stopped, she was allegedly detained and tortured for more than three years.
“Pretty soon I’m going to be leaving somehow and I’m not so sure of the outcome but I’m 99 percent positive it will work,” the woman claiming to be the Dubai princess said. “If it doesn’t then this video can help me because all my father cares about is his reputation … this video could save my life. If you are watching this video it’s not such a good thing — either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very bad situation.”
According to ABC, Detained In Dubai claims that Princess Sheikha Latifa ran away from the UAE on board the private yacht Nostromo. The plan was to go to India where she would fly to the United States and seek asylum. On March 4, the Nostromo was allegedly intercepted by UAE authorities off the coast of India. Armed men with guns and body armor allegedly stormed the yacht and kidnaped the Dubai princess, who has not been seen or heard from since.
Human Rights Watch is calling for the UAE to immediately reveal the whereabouts of the missing princess. They are asking that she be “given the rights all detainees should have, including being taken before an independent judge.”
“UAE authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa, confirm her status and allow her contact with the outside world,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East director, according to the Associated Press. “Failure to disclose the whereabouts and status of the princess could qualify as an enforced disappearance, given the evidence suggesting that she was last seen as UAE authorities were detaining her.”